During a residency project at STEIM from the 16th to the 22nd of October 2007, I worked on Immediate Interactive Improvisation. In principle, this system picks up music and generates immediately new music, which matches – in some way – the input. The word ‘music’ in this description is essential, as the system doesn’t process sound samples (frequencies, amplitudes…), but musical entities (notes, rhythms…) according to musical algorithms (scales, chords…). The program is built in the Synthedit environment on pc over a period of 3 years. It includes an intelligent ‘pitch tracking’ module. The recognized musical notes can be played back on 4 synchronized delay levels, thus creating associative melodies. The rhythm and timing can either be based on the input or on the built in ‘metronome’ with a variable random function.
Since the beginning of 2007 I used the system not only for experiments in a studio setting, but also in performances with a pc, a microphone and a clarinet. The STEIM residency project proved to be very valuable for new developments in this direction. Detailed information of experienced performers of electronic music like Michel Waisvisz, Robert van Heumen, Daniel Schromo and Takuro Mizuta Lippit was extremely useful. Experiments with the Lisa system of STEIM inspired me to include a module with which complex settings of the program can be changed with a single keystroke on a midi controller. With these options it will be possible to play longer pieces with varying structure.
The exchange of ideas and collaboration with my residency colleagues Sabine Vogel and Alex Nowitz were of great value too. They worked on projects for sensor controlled live sampling in Lisa and Junction, but as a flute player Sabine and I experienced exactly the same problems using a wind instrument and a computer at the same time. All three of us worked with clear musical objectives in mind. At the end of the week we could make some interesting recordings with three musicians and two brand new musical applications.
More information about my continuing work on this system and about other artistic experiments, you can find on http://www.jazzperiments.com > Music > Experiments log.
Photo: Sabine Vogel and Alex Nowitz using live sampling and immediate interactive improvisation.
Recording: Sabine Vogel – voice + flute + computer, Alex Nowitz – voice, Teun de Lange – clarinet + computer: